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U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Meets With Senior Officials from Central America and the Dominican Republic

Monday, November 15, 2010
(202) 482-4883

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke met today with senior government officials representing the countries of the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  
The multilateral meeting, which took place on the margin of the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF), focused on the importance of expanding trade with a group of neighboring countries and free trade agreement partners.
“The United States looks forward to building on the accomplishments of CAFTA-DR,” Locke said.  “Our countries will continue efforts to expand trade and prosperity in the hemisphere.”
CAFTA-DR has provided substantial new market access for U.S. companies and solidifies the United States as the leading supplier of goods and services to Central America and the Dominican Republic by eliminating the vast majority of tariffs on U.S. goods exported to the region.  

U.S. exports to the CAFTA-DR countries were over 50 percent higher in 2008 compared to 2005, the year before implementation of the agreement.
With total exports of $20 billion in 2009, the CAFTA-DR region was the United States’ third largest export market in Latin America and the Caribbean, behind only Mexico and Brazil. It ranked as the 14th largest market in the world for U.S. exports. Principal exports to the region include petroleum products, machinery, electronics, and cotton yarns.
The meeting included a number of CAFTA-DR officials, including the following:
Mari Carmen Aponte, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador
Irene Arguedas, Director of Investment and Chief of Staff, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Costa Rica
Alexander Segovia, Technical Secretary to the Presidency, El Salvador
Erick Heraldo Coyoy Echeverria, Minister of Economy, Guatemala
Alden Rivera, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honduras
General (ret.) Alvaro Baltodano, Presidential Delegate for Investment Promotion, Nicaragua
Eddy M. Martinez, Minister of Center for Export and Investment, Dominican Republic